Technology stocks made strong gains Tuesday ahead of a likely raise in interest rates as the Nasdaq composite charged up 112 points to 4,051.98 while the Dow Jones industrial average added 101 points to 11,041.05.
"The market's upswing means the interest rate increase is already discounted," said Alfred Goldman, a technical analyst at A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis. "I am not surprised we are getting a rally before the'' the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meeting."
U.S. manufacturing activity and construction spending more accurately gauged the state of the economy. Stocks retreated slightly after the economic reports both showed the economy is still going strong enough to merit a rate hike. Manufacturing activity eased for the fourth consecutive month in January, though the cost of materials rose, a trade association report said.
Construction spending dipped to 56.3, but was advancing at a slightly faster-than-expected pace, according the National Association of Purchasing Management. The "prices paid" component -- a key measure of costs -- rose to 72.6 from a revised 68.3.
On the IPO front, Turnstone Systems (Nasdaq: TSTN) jumped 68, or 234 percent, to 97 after it priced its 3 million shares at $29 a piece for trading Tuesday, well above their range of $23 to $25 each.
SkillSoft (Nasdaq: SKIL) looks like any other IPO - losses, little revenue, and big plans. But the company's executives may have to pay $810 million if found guilty of stealing trade secrets from their former employer. Its shares closed up 4 to 18.
Quantum Effect Devices (Nasdaq: QEDI) rose 40 1/2 to 56 1/2 after it priced its 3.72 million common shares at $16 each, above their projected range of $10-$12 a share for trading Tuesday.
Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) shares surged 9 1/16 to 136 1/16 after the wireless equipment maker confirmed a deal with China Unicom to license its trademark CDMA technology.
Sprint (NYSE: FON) fell 1 1/4 to 63 3/8after it reported fourth quarter earnings of 47 cents a share. Sprint PCS reported a fourth quarter operating loss of 75 cents a share.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) moved up 1/2 to 38 15/16; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) gained 3/4 to 28 3/16; Gateway Inc. (GTW) lost 1 7/16 to 59 3/4 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) trimmed 3 1/2 to 100 1/4.
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) shed 4 11/16 to 317 3/8. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) gained 2 7/8 to 67 7/16 while America Online Inc. (AOL) and Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) closed off 1 3/16 and 55/64 a share, respectively.
Intel Corp. (INTC) shot up 2 1/2 to 101 7/16 and IBM Corp. (IBM) lost 2 7/16 to 109 13/16.